The NFL Draft is a life changing three day event for every player selected.
It’s the moment they have dreamed about their entire lives.
From April 23rd through 25th each NFL team eyes to find the draft gem that will become the newest faces of each franchise, as all 32 teams select from the country’s best college football players.
With just 255 picks, the NFL Draft is one of the most selective events in all of professional sports. Though, not being drafted does not mean that a career is necessarily over. Once the Draft concludes, each team has the chance to sign any undrafted players as Undrafted Free Agents (UDFA). Former USF football standouts Greg Reaves and Mitchell Wilcox will now represent the Bulls in the NFL, both being picked up following the 2020 draft.
Reaves, a former walk-on out of Bradenton-Manatee, was a staple at Defensive End, and even switched to Linebacker when the Bulls lost Nico Sawtelle. The former Hurricane beast got his chance when the Los Angeles Rams picked him up on the wire. Reaves started 37 consecutive games for the Bulls. Despite walking-on to the team in 2015, he worked hard enough to earn a full scholarship from fellow Manatee High alum and then Head Coach Willie Taggart in 2017.
That season, Reaves led the Bulls with 14 tackles for loss, posted four sacks, seven QB hurries, three pass breakups, and finished sixth on the team in total tackles with 51 (32 solo). Talk about a statement.
In 2018 Reaves started all 13 games, but the first six were at DE, and the final seven at MLB due to the aforementioned injury to Sawtelle. This season was nothing short of impressive from Reaves. He amassed 89 tackles (47 solo), which was second on the team and 16th in the American Athletic Conference. 66 of his tackles were in the last seven games alone at his adjunct Middle Linebacker position. In 2019, Reaves started all 12 games at Defensive End. He led the team with four sacks and posted with 10 tackles for loss, finishing fourth on the team with 63 total tackles. Reaves also sniped an interception and recovered two fumbles as a Senior. Now as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, he will have the opportunity to prove to his coaches that he is ready to play at the professional level.
The next former USF player who signed with an NFL team as a UDFA was Tight End Mitchell Wilcox. Wilcox, a four-year starter, was always a “Fan Favorite”. After Redshirting in 2015, Wilcox started the final eight games of the 2016 season, quickly emerging as the team’s number one player at the position. Wilcox became a distinguished blocker and wreaked havoc for the opponents’ defensive coordinators. Wilcox recorded 12 receptions for a total of 278 yards and two touchdowns.
Under former Head Coach Willie Taggart, Wilcox became an integral part of the team’s “Gulf Coast Offense”, which combined the traditional power-I and spread offense concepts, generally using a Read/Pass Option (RPO) attack. Utilizing Wilcox’s elite blocking, the Bulls set multiple record, scoring 77 touchdowns and posting 6,650 yards of total offense. At the end of the season, he was named as a Second-team all-conference selection.
Entering the 2017 season, Wilcox was named to the Mackey Award watch list. The Mackey Award honors college football’s most outstanding Tight End. Wilcox recorded 17 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The following season, he was once again named to the Mackey Award watch list. Wilcox went on to set the USF single-season record for receptions by a Tight End with 43, and also set the program record for receiving yards by a Tight End with 540. He led all-conference Tight Ends in receiving yards. At the end of the season, Wilcox has set the program record for career receiving yards by a Tight End with 976. He was also named as a first-team all-conference selection.
In his final season as a Bull, he led the entire team in receptions with 28, as well as receiving yards with 350. He also recorded five touchdowns. He earned honorable-mention all-conference honors, and then went on to compete at the 2020 East-West Shrine Game, which featured some of the nation’s best college football players.
The day after the NFL Draft ended, Wilcox announced that he had signed an Undrafted Free Agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he will compete for a final roster spot for this season.
Reaves and Wilcox both worked extremely hard during their college football careers as Bulls. As their NFL careers are just kicking off, it is up to them now to impress their coaches and teammates to the best of their ability. Good luck, and go Bulls!